Faculty Recital Series features soprano Diane Kalinowski, pianist Nathan Hess

Nathan Hess and Diane KalinowskiThe D'Angelo Department of Music's Faculty Recital Series will feature soprano Diane Kalinowski and pianist Nathan Hess on Wednesday, March 15, at 8 p.m. in Walker Recital Hall at Mercyhurst University. The free public performance will also be livestreamed.

Kalinowski, who is on the faculty at Mercyhurst and Allegheny College, will sing opera arias by Handel, Strauss, Wagner, Puccini, Dvorak, and Cilea, along with selections by Jerome Kern, Bachelet, and Assad. Collaborating with her on piano is Hess, the Mary A. Spadafor Endowed Chair of Music at Mercyhurst.

Kalinowski is an artist who “stands out, possessing an enormous voice of fine quality,” noted Patrick C. Byrne in the Belgian Opera Guide. She has performed the roles of Marguerite in “Faust,” Lady Billows in “Albert Herring,” the New Prioress in “Dialogues of the Carmelites,” the title role in “Suor Angelica,” Gretel in “Hansel and Gretel,” among others. In addition, she has performed numerous concerts and has been the soprano soloist in Handel’s “Messiah,” the Poulenc “Gloria,” the Mozart “Requiem,” the Vivaldi “Gloria” and Strauss’s “Vier letzte Lieder.” 

Kalinowski has earned the top three awards at the Annapolis Opera Voice Competition, top prize in Opera Connecticut’s American Opera Idol Competition, top prize in New Hampshire Opera Idol Competition, and grand prize in Rochester Lyric Opera’s LaDue Competition.  She was selected as one of five finalists worldwide for the Elizabeth Connell Prize in Sydney, Australia.

Hess has soloed with the Manassas Symphony Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, Erie Chamber Orchestra, Western New York Chamber Orchestra, and York Symphony Orchestra, among others. Recent guest recital appearances and masterclasses have included the American Liszt Society Festival, The Americas Society in New York City, College Music Society Northeast Regional Conference, The Second Sunday Recital Series in Binghamton, New York, Bowling Green State University, Duke University, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Randolph College, and Duquesne University.

Hess holds a Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Music degree from James Madison University. For five years Hess chaired the piano program at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts in Erie, teaching piano to some of the state's most talented pre-college students.

He produced a set of recordings for the textbook “Harmony in Context,” written by Miguel Roig-Francoli and published by McGraw-Hill. In addition to teaching and performing, Hess is active in the  Music Teachers National Association and also adjudicates frequently throughout the East Coast.

At Mercyhurst, he coordinates the piano area, the Faculty Recital Series, and the Roche Guest Artist Series. In 2018, he received an award for excellence in faculty scholarship. For nine summers, he taught on the faculty at Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, Colorado. He can be heard on the Centaur label in a recording with flutist Susan Royal and in a recording of Bach arias produced by the International Trumpet Guild.